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Posts Tagged ‘end of the road’

In her final home game, four-year varsity vet Lindsey Roberts torched Sultan for 16 points in a Coupeville playoff win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The end of the road is always there, and no one can avoid it forever.

When the Coupeville High School girls basketball squad was eliminated from the playoffs Thursday, it capped the prep hoops career for three Wolf seniors.

And while Ema Smith and Nicole Laxton played with pride, hustle, and grit, always, honoring themselves and their program, it’s hard to argue the third departing player won’t leave the biggest hole.

Lindsey Roberts was that rare player who played varsity basketball, and never as a bench-warmer, from day one to her finale.

She was a key contributor as a freshman on a team which went to state, led Coupeville in scoring as both a junior and senior, and helped the Wolves win two league titles and narrowly miss out on a third.

It’s easy to spotlight points, since that’s the most concrete stat we have, and, hey, the team who scores most wins the game.

In that respect, Roberts goes down as one of the greats, finishing with 448 points, tied with Vanessa Davis for #18 on the CHS girls career scoring chart.

One less injury here, a few more playoff games there, and she might have been the 14th Wolf girl to crack 500 points.

But I think the fact she didn’t reach 500 almost marks Roberts as a better player.

She was always willing to do whatever was necessary for team success, and fit her game to mesh with those around her.

Need her to rebound? To defend?

To sprint the floor and haul in full-court baseball passes from Sarah Wright?

To look for her teammates with crisp, effective feeds?

She was your go-to girl.

Lou played a complete game, always, and her points were a bonus.

While she could be your give-me-the-ball Michael Jordan, which she showed in several big-time performances including this year’s home playoff game against Sultan, she was also willing to be Scottie Pippen.

That is a rare quality, and one which truly marks Roberts as one of the best Wolves hoops fans have witnessed.

A young Roberts welcomes teammate Lauren Grove to the floor for a game in which a win sent the Wolves to state.

Her freshman year, she ran the floor with senior Makana Stone, who was wrapping up a career in which she scored 1,158 points, third-most in school history.

After that, Roberts shared the ball with gunners like Kailey Kellner (#30 all-time on the girls scoring chart), Mia Littlejohn (#35), Ema Smith (#48), and Mikayla Elfrank (#49).

A lot of their buckets? Set up by Roberts crashing the boards, hustling down floor to create mismatches for the defense, and looking for an open teammate to feed when her own shot wasn’t there.

The Wolf teams Roberts played for achieved success in great part because she was a rock.

She didn’t scream or holler, at least that I could ever see from my perch in the stands, but she had an air about her which made other players gravitate to her side.

Perhaps it’s because she learned while shadowing Stone, the most serene superstar I have ever written about.

Roberts was remarkably similar to her close friend, leading by example, NEVER showing up her teammates, always embracing them.

Lou being Lou.

I’ve known Lindsey’s extended family for a very long time, even working with her aunt, Stephanie, for many years at Videoville, and have seen Lou grow from a precocious young child into a confident young woman, on and off the court.

That being said, I probably have exchanged a mere handful of words with her over the years.

I already feel like I’m invading the lives of the teenage athletes I cover just by writing about them all the time, and hesitate to infringe more than that.

But there are times when you want to say something a little more, and, since I struggle with social interaction, using writing is much easier.

There’s still much more ahead for Roberts.

Track season, should better weather ever arrive, is where Lindsey truly dominates.

After that comes college (she’s Wazzu-bound, cause she’s too smart to waste time at U-Dub) and what will likely be many, many years of success in the real world.

High school sports, while they have been important to her, are just a small stepping stone as Roberts conquers the world.

But, as she moves forward from one well-earned highlight to another, I just want to say thanks.

Basketball is my favorite sport, so while Roberts has also stood tall in soccer and wowed the crowds in track, her hoops exploits have always been the first to catch my attention.

From a chipper freshman to a seasoned senior, she wore her uniform with pride, honoring her family, her school, her town, and most of all, herself.

Others with deeper knowledge of the intricacies of the sport can break down for you how Roberts, and her game, truly compares to other Wolf greats.

But, while many writers settle for facts, I have based my entire scribbling career more on emotion.

Write the legend, build the myth, celebrate the extraordinary.

Even as I am almost completely sure she would roll her eyes at being told in person she was extraordinary, that’s what Roberts has been every step of the way during her hoops career.

I hope she enjoyed her four years on the floor as much as those of us who watched her play did.

Players come and go, and a few, a very few, burn brightly enough where we can honestly say they won’t be forgotten.

Lou is forever.

Off to state! Roberts was the last active player from this 2016 photo.

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(Amy King photo)

   Even with two tough playoff losses, the Wolf girls finished 15-6, best of any of Whidbey Island’s six high school teams. (Amy King photo)

The magic ran out.

A very successful season came to an unfortunate end Thursday for the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball squad.

Unable to buy a bucket in the first half, or cut into a double-digit deficit in the second, the Wolves fell 39-17 to Cascade Christian.

The loss, Coupeville’s second in three days on the faraway court at Bellarmine Prep High School in Tacoma, eliminated the Wolves from the district playoffs.

The CHS girls finished 15-6, by far the best record of any of Whidbey Island’s six varsity high school teams.

They went 9-0 in Olympic League play (running their record to 27-0 all-time), won their third straight conference crown and brought home the Friday Harbor Tip-Off Classic title for a second consecutive season.

Seattle Christian stunned Bellevue Christian 36-34 in Thursday night’s second playoff game to win the district title and punch its ticket to state.

BC and CC face off Saturday to determine District 3’s other state-bound squad.

Based on their play during the regular season, the Wolves entered districts with high hopes of returning to state for a second straight season.

Instead, something about making the 90+ mile trip each time and the unfamiliar court seemed to drain a lot of the life out of Coupeville’s players.

A team that played extremely strong defense all year struggled to recapture that lock-down style in both of its playoff games, and it stung them badly.

After a truly horrifying shooting performance Tuesday, the Wolves had much better shot selection Thursday, but couldn’t buy a bucket.

Shot after shot spun out of the cylinder, popped free or flat-out refused to take a friendly bounce.

And when the Wolves couldn’t score — they netted just five points in the first half Thursday — the pressure on their defense built greater and greater.

The game was briefly knotted up at 3-3 midway through the first quarter, but then Cascade Christian started to find a bit of a groove on the offensive end.

A 14-0 run from the Cougars that started in the final moments of the first and carried through much of the second quarter was a back-breaker for Coupeville.

Mia Littlejohn finally snapped her team’s epic cold streak with a little runner in the paint, but Cascade Christian responded with its only three-ball of the game on the very next possession, negating any brief Wolf hopes.

Coupeville, which trailed 22-5 at the break, did put up a far better fight in the second half, when coach David King played mix-and-match with his lineup.

The Wolf reserves lit a bit of a spark, with players like Lauren Rose and Ema Smith crashing around, making a silent bid for increased playing time next season.

With her younger teammates fighting for every ball, senior Kailey Kellner stepped up to provide a bit of a scoring punch, draining all seven of her points in the second half.

But, while the Wolves lost the second-half battle just 17-12, they were unable to score back-to-back buckets at any point in the game, effectively snuffing out comeback hopes.

Coupeville’s final basket came on maybe its best play of the night, as Kalia Littlejohn made off with a loose ball, led the break, then hit Kellner in stride for a layup.

While CHS held Cascade Christian’s leading scorer, Allison Downs, to just a pair of free throws, the Cougars got big games from Shelaine Lorenz, who scored 18, and Hailey Brandner, who knocked down 13.

Mia Littlejohn was the only Wolf to score in the first half, netting all five of her points, while Tiffany Briscoe (2), Mikayla Elfrank (2) and Lindsey Roberts (1) rounded out the limited attack.

Roberts and Elfrank hauled in eight boards apiece, with Briscoe snatching five.

The playoff loss was the swan song for Coupeville’s three seniors — Lauren Grove, Briscoe and Kellner.

Final season scoring stats:

Kailey Kellner – 180
Mikayla Elfrank – 128
Mia Littlejohn – 119
Lindsey Roberts – 83
Kalia Littlejohn – 68
Tiffany Briscoe – 53
Lauren Grove – 38
Lauren Rose – 30
Sarah Wright – 16
Kyla Briscoe – 7
Allison Wenzel – 4
Charlotte Langille – 2

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